National Geographic : 1947 Feb
199 Scintillating Siam * .W f .1 Made of Bamboo, This Creaking Water Wheel Irrigates a Family Garden As the wheel turns in the current, tubes attached at the top. Thence it is piped through bamboo tubes River links the two sections of Chiang Mai. They reminded me of the fact, familiar to all who have seen the movie Anna and the King of Siam, that King Mongkut (Rama IV) wrote President Lincoln offering to stock the United States with elephants to roam in its "jungles" and provide a source of beasts of burden. Mr. Lincoln replied that his govern ment's jurisdiction did not "reach a latitude so low as to favor the multiplication of the elephant" and added that "steam . . . has been our best and most efficient agent of trans portation . . ." At way stations as we traveled on, local villagers rushed out to meet the train and sell fruits, drinks, rice dishes, and meats. Water from a young coconut is ambrosia indeed after hot, dusty hours on the train. The food the people offered along the way afforded a good index to the prosperity of the rural districts. In some places we could buy only fresh, sweet sugar cane, while in others veritable banquets were available. to its rim dip up water and spill it into the trough to the vegetable patches. The bridge over the Ping Through the interior as we chugged north ward we also noted a change in the villagers' clothing. The farther we got from Bangkok the poorer was their dress. Garments in some villages were almost in tatters, for the people had been unable to buy cloth for a long time. About Lampang, Lamphun, and Chiang Mai, at the upper end of the line, residents were better clad. In these towns a sizable home industry in weaving had been developed. From Lampang to Chiang Mai our train groaned, chugged, stopped, started, and coasted for nearly seven hours. Along the route the railway climbs through forested mountains and at its highest point bores through a tunnel nearly a mile long before it drops to the Lamphun-Chiang Mai plain. On the plain about Lamphun diked rice plots were flooded, and many men and their womenfolk were busy transplanting green rice seedlings into the muddy ooze. Others tended bean patches.